Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Newsletter #401

Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) Community of Food
3) Fastest Box Preparation
4) July 4th deliveries on July 4th
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Unsubscribe
9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

1) In your box this week: Gold Beets, Cauliflower, Spinach, Radishes, Romaine Lettuce, Spring Onions, Oregano, Collards OR Spigariello greens, Mystery

This week’s vegetable list: I try to have it updated by Monday night, sometimes by Mon. am:

**Wed. July 4th we will deliver our Wednesday deliveries as usual, even though it’s the 4th. Please find someone to pick up for you if you’ll be out of town or contact Zelda if you want to donate your share. Thank you.

2) Community of Food by Zelda S.

(Julia’s note: Andy’s been bugging Zelda to write this article. She comes to us with a wealth of experience in working with CSA farms, including her own! Here’s a bit of her story.)

I first met Tim and John as the new, slightly panicked operations manager for a small food co-op in a small town in northern Indiana. “Operations manager” was a catch-all phrase that was to include cleaning the bathroom (a toilet next to the rickety ladder stairs leading to the storage area in the basement; later to be flooded as I was closing up one night by the upstairs neighbor’s washer. But that’s another story) as well as organizing the working members – members who volunteered a few hours a month at the co-op. This was the forum for meeting Tim and John, a wonderful breath of eccentricity. Tim was at first quiet and always eager to please. John was more interested in talking local politics or explaining why I needed a new bike helmet than in wrapping cheddar cheese. But they regularly came in two times a week to do their shopping and were faithful, monthly volunteers. I gradually came to match dozens of names with faces and we developed a wonderful working community around food.

Two years later, I left the food co-op to embark on a small business venture – farming! I and another woman, Beth, would work a small 6 acre plot at the edge of town and start a Community Supported Agriculture program. This was viewed with some suspicion – “must be some sort of new-age hippie thing.” And Tim and John were right there with us, still eager to please and still rattling on about the mayoral election (can someone really be elected on an anti-mosquito platform?). I saw more of Tim than John over the next five years. Tim worked as an organist for hire and had a pretty flexible schedule. He loved to see what we were up to and talk about what to do with flea beetles, when it is safe to set out his tomatoes and why in the world would I plant okra. Every week, he set off around the garden, taking in all the changes: the ground hog damage to the lettuce, the row cover blown off into the trees, the rust on the green beans, and the mysterious case of the disappearing cauliflower plants (ground hogs again). He also saw the superb spinach, the snap peas billowing in their rows, and the sensual okra flower. I so appreciated Tim and his interest.

Our CSA was quite small by California standards, only 45 members. Members came to the farm to pick up their veggies. Either Beth or I greeted them each week and they were welcome to walk the farm. We were initially surprised with how few took the trip around the gardens. A few enjoyed bringing their children or grandchildren to visit the goats and chickens. But aside from Tim, most were content to look out at the patchwork of vegetables and weeds and know that this is where just a few hours earlier their food had been harvested.

When I’ve spoken in recent years about Community Supported Agriculture to UCSC students at the Farm and Garden program, I have come away with a sense that they expect there to be an intense communal relationship with the members of their future CSA program. There is an expectation that you shouldn’t get “too big” as a CSA or you’ll lose the sense of “community.” I think I initially held that view as well, but I have come to see that community comes in many forms and facets. The community is formed among the co-workers or neighbors sharing a box of veggies. It’s when you sit down at your table and read our newsletter and the shared recipes and stories from the farmers and other members. Or when friends take turns holding a weekly dinner party made up of food from the veggie box and the farmers market. It is formed when a family starts cooking and eating together every week. This is how a community of people gathers to support local agriculture – you eat in community.

Seven years went by, and I had never been to Tim and John’s house. For awhile when he would stop by for his veggies and weekly stroll, his little Festiva would be loaded down with rocks for his path or more plants to go in the back yard. Tim had been reporting over the years on how he had slowly gotten rid of his lawn and what had gone in its place – rock lined paths leading through an edible landscape. And in the meantime, the business relationship with my partner had run its course, and I was through with farming and heading to California. Tim and John came into the bakery where I was working and presented me with an invitation to a bon voyage dinner. I accepted, with a lump in my throat.

When I arrived at their home, it was my turn to take a walking tour. Tim gave me the play by play of what and when he had put things in. “You remember, the year you had the eight foot high okra.” John had typed up the menu for the evening, trying to buy as much as they could from the local growers at the farmers market. It was May, so the variety was limited, but it did include a fresh greens salad with radishes and snow peas, roasted asparagus, and free-range chicken. Of course, since I would be moving to California, they decided we better top the evening off with a trip to Dairy Queen down the street. Who knew when I would again be able to indulge in a peanut buster parfait.


3) Fastest Way to use this week’s box from Julia:

for all cooking greens: radish and beet tops, collards, and spinach if you’re not going to saladize it: rinse and then roughly chop greens. Cook up with garlic in a bit of oil. Then eat that as a side dish with a squeeze of lemon, or take it further and mix it into a quiche, top a pizza, stir into a hearty bean soup, or just tuck into a quesadilla. Cook up the radish and beet tops in the first day or two, they are delicious but don’t hang out very long. You can store their roots longer in the fridge in a bag.

Cauliflower: steam and eat. Dip in salad dressing if you like.

Lettuce: simple green salads every day til it’s gone!

Onions: use anywhere you use onions, or slice thin into a salad

Oregano: dry or use one of the recipes below.

Radishes: eat if you’re a radish fan, cook if you want to tame the spiciness.

Beets: roast and eat or grate raw into a salad.


4) Wednesday, July 4th

Week of July 4th: Please note, this year July 4th falls on a Wednesday! We will deliver to the Wednesday pick up sites on July 4th. If you are to be out of town, we encourage you to find a friend to pick up the veggies for you. If no one can pick up the veggies for you, call or email us at least a day in advance and we can donate your veggies to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.


5) Photos

Gold Beets

Radishes (you’ll get EITHER plum purple or candela)

Candela Fuoco Radishes

Purple Plum Radishes

Spring Onions

Spigariello Greens: (for recipes, these work well in any kale recipe)



6) Recipes by Robert, Crystal, and Julia

Oregano Before Tomatoes! It's got some of the same theories as Basil Before Tomatoes. You can easily try drying the oregano. (Basil doesn't dry well AT ALL: it's best to pestoize it and freeze it to keep it for the future.) But oregano is great dried. If you have a gas oven you can arrange the oregano stems evenly over a baking pan (undo the bunch). Put it in the oven with just the pilot light and it should dry nicely. You can also try hanging the bunch (possibly make a couple of smaller bunches) upside down in a dark, dry place. If you have a food dehydrator, try that, using the instructions. OR! Try one of the recipes below: all using fresh oregano, before tomatoes show up!


Elegant but easy, this fast fish dinner is simple enough to prepare on a weeknight and special enough to serve to company.

4 (1 1/4-inch-thick) pieces white-fleshed skinless fish fillets, such as halibut (6 oz each)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 very thin lemon slices
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup pitted brine-cured green olives such as picholine, halved lengthwise (2 oz)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Special equipment: a 2 1/2-qt shallow ceramic or glass baking dish

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450̊F.

Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sear fillets, skinned sides down, until browned well, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer, seared sides up, to baking dish (reserve skillet), then top each fillet with a slice of lemon.

Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Boil 30 seconds, then pour around fish. Scatter olives around fish and bake, uncovered, until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes.

Transfer fish to a platter, then whisk lemon juice, oregano, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil into cooking liquid in baking dish. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over fish.

Makes 4 main-course servings.

Quick Kitchen
May 2006

Creamy Yogurt Oregano Dip

This would make a great sauce for falafel, hamburgers, or just crackers/vegetables as dip delivery devices. This recipe can be halved.

2 Cups Plain Lowfat Greek (strained) yogurt (see note below)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 small onion, finely chopped (or two green onions)
juice from 1 garlic clove, (I used a microplane, you can also try a garlic press and just add the juice)
2 quick dashes of worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate to develop flavors, at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.

Serve as a thick sauce for lamb burgers, falafel, as a dip plate, etc.

Makes 6 Servings (About 1 3/4 Cups of Dip).

Greek Yogurt Note: it's a strained therefore thicker yogurt. You can use nonfat or full fat if you like. Trader Joe's sells a Greek brand and their own brand of Greek yogurt. You can make your own too: Set strainer over 4-cup measuring cup. Line strainer with paper towel. Add yogurt to strainer; chill until yogurt is thick (about 1 cup liquid will drain from yogurt), at least 2 hours or overnight.

I know there are no carrots in this week's box, but some of you may still have carrots waiting to be eaten in the fridge...

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine
a rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound carrots (about 8 medium), peeled and shredded fine

In a bowl whisk together oregano, cumin, zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk in oil in a stream until dressing is emulsified. Add carrots and toss to combine well.

Serves 8 to 10 as part of a tapas buffet.

January 1996


Julia's note: I've made this dish: it's simply delicious. Plan to double the recipe if you have very many shrimp lovers at your table! I've successfully used smaller shrimp as well. I've made this in the oven using the broiler instead of the grill as well....

Gourmet's note: The citrusy dressing makes this dish a standout, and there's plenty extra to be sopped up with rice or crusty bread. Cooking shrimp in their shells keeps them juicy and tender. It all makes for casual finger food that requires plenty of napkins — which is part of the fun.

3 lb jumbo shrimp in shell (7 or 8 per lb)
4 large garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano (from 1 bunch)
3 lemons, each cut into 6 wedges

Snip through shells of shrimp along middle of back using kitchen shears, exposing vein and leaving tail and adjoining segment of shell intact. Devein shrimp, leaving shells in place.

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt using a large heavy knife or a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a blender along with lemon juice and pepper and blend until smooth. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in chopped oregano.

Prepare grill for cooking over direct heat with medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Toss shrimp with 1/4 cup dressing in a large bowl and marinate no more than 15 minutes. (Texture of shrimp will change if marinated too long.)

Lightly brush lemon wedges with some of remaining dressing and grill, turning over once, until grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large platter.

Grill shrimp on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using a gas grill), turning over once, until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to platter with lemons as grilled. Serve with remaining dressing.

Cooks' note:
If you aren't able to grill outdoors, preheat a lightly oiled well-seasoned large (2-burner) cast-iron grill pan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook lemon wedges and shrimp (in batches if necessary) in same manner as above.

Makes 6 servings.

Culinary Uses
Leaf: Blend with chili and garlic. Add to pizza, tomatoes, egg and
cheese dishes. Stuff fresh haddock with oregano and breadcrumbs. Rub
into roasting meat.
Stem: Give food a faint oregano flavor by laying stems on barbecue

Spinach and Rice
adapted from Meditteranean Vegetables by Clifford A. Wright.

note from author of recipe:
Some cooks like to slide several sunny-side-up eggs on top of the finished dish, and you can do the same if you like. Kefalotyri is a Greek cheese that can usually be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets; replace it with provolone or mild cheddar if you must. (That's Clifford's opinion, use what you like! -julia)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked short-grain rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground if available)
3 Tablespoons freshly chopped mint leaves, divided
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram, divided
2 pounds spinach, washed will and trimmed of heavy stems (can combine with other cooking greens)
1/2 cup freshly grated kefalotyri cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat and cook the onion until yellow, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook until coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. REduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the water, about 20 minutes.

2. Season with pepper, nutmeg, and half the herbs. Place half the spinachon top of the rice and season with the remaining herbs. PLace the remaining spinach into the casserole and cover. Cook until the spinach is slightly wilted, about 15 minutes, and stir to mix together the rice, spinach, and herbs. Cover and continue cooking, checking the casserole frequently, until the water is absorbed, another 30 to 45 minutes. Correct the seasoning, cover with the cheese, allow it to melt, and serve hot.

makes 6 to 8 servings.

spigariello idea from Crystal, gleaned from Michelle's blog "Getting Your Share"

Crystal said...

Hi. I am new to CSA. I found the
Spigariello delicious. I chopped it up, steamed it, then added it an already sauteed garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil. Then served it over pasta. It was yummy.

in case you still have cabbage in your fridge: 2 recipes submitted by Robert Gupta

Sesame Cabbage

1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1 dried red chili

1 head Cabbage, chopped
3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp oil (olive, sesame, canola, etc.)
1 dried red chili, cracked
1 pinch fenugreek
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed

Dry roast sesame seeds and dried red chili in a pan over medium heat. Stir often until majority seeds are brown. Remove from heat and cool. Once cool, grind in a food processor or blender with 1/2 tsp of salt. Excess ground sesame can be stored in the refrigerator for further use.

To cook cabbage over medium heat, add chopped cabbage to 3/4 cup boiling water + 1 tsp salt. Cook until cabbage is desired texture. Once cooked, drain excess liquid. Add 1/4-1/2 cup ground sesame. Turn off heat.

Prepare the "popu" in a separate pan by combing all ingredients, heating over medium heat, and waiting for mustard seeds to crackle. Once ready, add to cabbage, stir and heat over low heat for 1 minute. The "popu" can be prepared when the cabbage is nearly finished.

Potato Scallion Curry

1 inch ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion,chopped
1 bunch scallions or spring onions, chopped
4-6 potatoes boiled, chopped (big pieces) optionally remove peel
2 small green chilis
2 tsp curry powder

1 1/2 tbsp oil (olive, sesame, canola, etc.)
1 pinch fenugreek
1/4 tsp mustard seed1 tsp cumin seed

In a large saucepan, prepare the popu. When the seeds crackle, add garlic and stir until aroma emerges. Add scallions,onion and green chilis. Stir until onions soften and become transulcent. Add potatoes and ginger. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add curry powder, stir for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Can be served as a filling for dosas, with rice, or chappatis.

Radish, Cauliflower, and Beet Recipe Seekers: please refer to the links below, I used my Recipe Energy this week on the oregano-before-tomatoes recipes, they are above and on my oregano webpage too. Thank you.

Recipe Links:





Salad Dressings

Summer Squash



7) Which Farm?

From High Ground: Mystery, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Flowers
From Mariquita: Onions, Radishes, Oregano, Beets, Spinach, Collards, Spigariello

8) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter

BLOG ADVANTAGES: I can change mistakes after I post them. I don’t have to subscribe/unsubscribe folks. Old newsletters easily accessed. Links! (I send this newsletter out as plain text so more folks with differently-abled computer systems can easily read it.) You can sign up for email updates to the Two Small Farms Blog on the main blog page

9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

Two Small Farms
Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077

1 comment:

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